So, I went to see Pearl Jam Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, which according to some experts, makes me better than you. You can check out the set list. Here are my thoughts and observations in bullet-points on my first Pearl Jam show:

-Eddie Vedder drinks red wine straight out of the bottle during his concerts. Veteran Pearl Jam concert-goers already know this. His blood circulation must be phenomenal.

-As far as I’m concerned, the show started during the third song with a seething rendition of “Why Go?” I picked up my Stratocaster three times today just to kick in the distortion and play that riff. Smoking.

-I really, really wish they had played more off of “Ten.” They played “Even Flow,” “Alive,” “Why Go?” and “Porch.” I wouldn’t have yelled at them for throwing “Once” in there.

-The show got better and better as it went on. Their renditions of “W.M.A.,” “Spin the Black Circle” and “Leash” were simply outstanding. Vedder has lost nothing when it comes to energizing a crowd and he even had his long hair so I felt like we were in the 1990’s. I’ve seen DVD’s with the short hair and it’s not the same.

-They do a good version of “All Along the Watchtower,” which they do at most shows. I’m not surprised as guitarist Mike McCready is a huge Jimi Hendrix fan (yes, I know that Bob Dylan wrote that, but they do it the Jimi way). I love that you can hear Hendrix references in McCready’s guitar voicings. “Black” and “Yellow Ledbetter” are great examples, and no, they didn’t play either of those.

-Speaking of McCready, his posturing and on-stage antics remind me of Derek Smalls or Nigel Tufnel at times.

-I think it’s pretty neat that the crowd knew almost every word to most of the songs. Vedder frequently dropped out to let the masses fill in. He does this quite a bit, especially during “Alive.” If you don’t know what part of that song I’m talking about, you didn’t read this far.

-Beer is $7.75 at MSG. Just saying.

-I wore, and got several compliments on, my 1995 Seattle Supersonics authentic Shawn Kemp jersey. I didn’t know what to wear so I thought I’d go with the Seattle connection.

-Ever heard Pearl Jam’s version of the Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me?” I had heard it before, but was lucky to see them cover it last night. They do it perfectly.

-If you want to find out how much you’ve missed from Pearl Jam since you stopped buying their albums after “Vitalogy,” go to a concert. I had to ask several times what song they were playing.

-These guys give you your money’s worth. My ticket was about $97 and they played for a long time. I’ve been to numerous concerts (of bands that I do indeed like, mind you) and felt after a while that I was ready for them to be done. Not with Pearl Jam. They played for quite some time and could have kept going as far as I was concerned.

-I love the audio at MSG. Not because it’s particularly good, because it can be a bit muddy. But you don’t ever get the noisy high frequencies that can ruin a show. That’s more important to me than some clutter in the mid to low end.

-Ending with “Indifference” was marvelous. One of my favorite songs of theirs.

About The Author

Micah Warren is a sports writer from New York and the founder of Blast's sports section and the Off the Record sports blog.

One Response

  1. Avery Klein

    Good review of Pearl Jam, but I have a correction for you.

    The quote “-They do a good version of “All Along the Watchtower,” which they do at most shows.”

    I think you have them mixed up with Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam does not cover this song very often, although they do play it very nicely!


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